Dr Mena's Diaries -Behold, your adolescent, an all by himself!!!

Jide was a fifteen year old undergraduate of one of the prestigious Universities in his country... 
He had never left home being an only child of his parents who had him at a pretty old age...His parents doted on him and he knew he was loved. He was sent to one of the best primary and secondary Schools around.

 Contrary to the usual expectations, that an only child is overpampered and spoilt, Jide was well groomed and cultured. His mother had inculcated the right cultural and Christian values in him. His father, being a busy international businessman, was hardly around....

The trouble started when the dreaded cult group on campus started to mount pressure on Jide to become their member because, according to their leader, "J-boy you have the right biceps and physique that we need in our group to put fear in our opponents, we need you on board..."
Jide had persistently turned down their overtures... I belong to Christ alone, he would respond boldly...

When the pressure became unbearable, he poured his heart out to his friend John. John was two years older than him and they were both drummers in their campus fellowship..
 John, I think I might have to tell my mum about my ordeal with these boys, it's getting out of hand and they're distracting me.

John bursts into laughter, rolling on the floor to the chargrin of Jide.... Few minutes later, John regains his balance and says to him... Guy you are not a mummy's boy and you can't tell this to your mum. What's she going to do about it? Breastfeed you more or threaten those marlians on your behalf? Guy, as a matter of fact, I joined them right in my pre-degree program. As a man I fight my battles myself, beating his broad chest boldly in Jide's face. Jide you need to grow up and come on board he said pulling at the collar of Jide's shirt.

 Jide could not believe what he had just heard from his friend whom he thought was a Spirit filled Christian just like himself, he remembered John was one of the people who kept visiting him and encouraged him to join their campus fellowship and settle into an activity group. No no no,he couldn't have heard right. Not "St.John" (as popularly called by his friends), he couldn'tbe serious, he thought to himself as he stood transfixed in the centre of his room long afte John had left.

That evening, he decided to call his mum to inform her of his major challenge on campus. Hey mum!, how are you doing? Despite his feeble attempt at zest, his voice was very cold and he suddenly lost the zeal to reveal anything to his mum. Not after everything John had said to him. He told himself he needed to grow up and find a way to solve his problems like a man. 
 His mother Mrs Otunba was very excited to hear from her son however she noticed a certain difference to his tone. Jide, are you ok? is something troubling you? you know you can talk to me. His mother persisted but Jide insisted he was fine and it was just the pressure of school work weighing him down.

At the end of the call, Mrs Otunba was very sure all was not well with her child, she swore she knew him more than he knew himself. She understood him well even when he wasn't communicating.

She decided to pray for him and pay him a visit the following weekend.

Jide in his room regretted not opening up to his mum. But " I'm a man" he said to himself. "I can handle it". With those words he quelled the embers of doubt welling up in his mind.
He decided to cook some jellof rice for dinner as he was famished and tired from all the day's activities.

Twenty minutes into dinner preparation, he hears a knock on the door. Oh damn! I hope it's not these Marlian boys again as they had been persistently visiting his room and monitoring him.Jide peeps through his window and it was his friend, James. I smell the aroma of some good cooking here. What are you up to Jide? I hope you didn't cook only one portion this time? you this guy. Well, I'm spending the night with you and I'm lucky I'm going to enjoy this jellof rice with you.

They played FIFA while waiting for the rice to get ready.

James and Jide had barely settled down to their delicious meal when they heard a knock on the door... James quickly takes his food to the kitchen as he was not ready to share with anyone before going to answer the door.He sees three hefty young men all wearing red scarfs with bloodshot eyes. They pushed him out of the way and barged into Jide's room and dragged him out. J-boy, this is the last warning, we're not joking. We give you one week to join us or face the music.The leader of the team pulls out his gun and runs it round Jide's head, it was as cold as ice... Jide had never been so frightened all his life. I should just join them, he thought to himself as he returned quietly to his room.

James was so worried seeing his friend in the hands of those fearful looking boys. Does Jide now belong to their cult? what do they want? So many thoughts ran through his mind but he remembered he has his jellof rice to finish before it gets cold. Everyone around James knows he likes food despite not knowing a thing about cooking.

Jide returned to his room shortly after the Marlians left. What do they want Jide? Are you their member? James questioned his friend. I don't know what to do James, Jide was so frightened this time. These boys have been on my neck. He broke down in tears.
 Jide, you should involve your parents, this is not what you can handle yourself. These guys are very brutal. James recalls his encounter with them but for his uncle who's a commissioner of police and the grace of God, he could have been killed. They finished their meal, said their prayers and slept.

Before 8am on Saturday, Mrs. Otunba was at her son's off campus hostel.Mum good morning ma James welcomes Jide's mum. How are you doing omo Igbo? She responded. I'm very fine thank you, James replied happily. Where's my son, Jide? she enquires. Oh, he's in the gents I'm sure he will join us soon.

Jide hearing his mum's voice hurriedly took his bath and came out. Mummy, this is quite early, prostrates to greet his mother. My child it is well with you. I didn't like how you sounded on the phone the last time. I know you too well so I decided to come. Mum, I'm fine, all is well. He tries to put up a smile. James interrupts their conversation. Mummy I think you should take Jide home. a
All is not well, he needs help but he's trying to be a man all by himself.

En, mogbe! James what trouble is my son in? Jide please talk to your mother, Mrs. Otunba pleaded with Jide...
James quickly helps Jide pack a few of his things. Go home with your mum Jide, things can be sorted out. He pats him and takes his leave... Mrs. Otunba's heart was racing as to what kind of trouble her son was in. She had raised him in the way of the Lord, a proper child, a perfect gentle man.

The journey home was unusually quiet as his mum sat at the back of the car while Jide was at the front with the driver. Mrs Otunba understood her son very well.  He wouldn't open up when issues of "being a man" were involved. She had quickly sent a message to her husband and her psychologist friend informing them of what was happening. This problem must be unravelled and solved she mumbled.

At the arranged mini meeting between Jide, his father, mother and Mrs. Jegede the psychologist, his father reassures Jide that he has his back always and would do anything to ensure he's ok. Then Mrs. Jegede takes over, talks to Jide using stories of many young people she has handled as illustration. Before Jide finally opened up, breaking down in tears as his mother consoles him. Mum, I'm sorry to have thought I could handle it all by myself. My friends think I'm a mummy's boy and not man enough, he sobbed further. His mother had taught him that it was ok for a man to cry too if he feels like, it helps so Jide had no shame letting out those tears. It was normal and ok. Boys cry too

Jide, we are your parents and guardians until you become a man. We all, were once at the stage you are now. We are here to ensure you are safe, his father reassured him.

Mrs Otunba wasn't ready to play games with her only child and quickly arranged for Jide to be transferred to another University. They didn't let Jide go abroad because they felt he was too young but they couldn't risk losing him to some stupid cult.

Hey mama! Hey papa! how well do you know your adolescent? some are trying to be men and women all by themselves.
You need to watch out and be sure that they're safe out there. You need to find a way understand them even when they're not speaking. If you need help, reach out like Mrs Otunba.

#Adolescent health
#Adolescent safety

Bio: Dr. Onotume Okemena Esther, popularly called Dr. Mena by her friends.
Obtained her primary medical degree MBBS degree from University of Port Harcourt in 2010. Currently a senior registrar in Paediatrics. In her spare time she writes mainly to educate the populace on health issues.

Email : menafinbar@yahoo.com

©Dr. Mena


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